Pathos Twin Towers and Viva Sentesi.
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The Jadis Orchestra Reference is one of the most beautiful amplifiers you can buy. 24 karat gold over brass fascia and knobs, stainless steel, real wood, transformer covers in black and 24K gold, exposed tubes and capacitors. Definitely helped in getting my ex-fiance to approve the purchase. It looks right at home in the most elegant decor. On my side it was the best sounding tube amp I could find. Pretty much bar none. Many things going for it soundwise. Terrific bass, lots of clean, dynamic power, incredible refinement and detail, neutral. Bass and treble controls. Ability to tailor sound to a wide range, vis a vis the acceptance of KT90(come with the amp)/KT88/6550/EL34/6CA7/E34L output tubes. I would also have been happy with an Air Tight, but they are much more utilitarian looking(so not of your interest). Cary and Pathos are nice looking amps to my eye. There are also a lot of nice looking exotic amps, but they are harder to find.
One thing about the Jadis Orchestra Reference. Please don't confuse it with the Orchestra. The Orchestra is considered to be very beautiful by many, but when compared to the Reference, it looks more than cheesy. The Orchestra substitutes the real 24K gold over brass for gold colored plastic fascia and knobs, and lacks the transformer covers(on its smaller transformers). No bass or treble controls either. Also, the Orchestra comes with 6CA7 tubes(will also take EL34/E34L). I don't think it will run 6550/KT88/KT90. I was told the transformers are the reason. Not 100% sure on this though.
I'll have to go along with the Manley Stingray. It is a nice sounding amp also, a bit weak in the power department compared to some of the other recommendations but damn sexy and was designed by Eve Anna Manley who looks pretty good herself. I think my Cary SlI 50 looks pretty good also, especially in the dark with the tubes glowing reflecting off the chrome chassis. Ah, the joys of listening and looking at any of these fine open chassis tube amps that everyone has recommended is something to experience. Once you settle on one of these beauties you will want to listen all the time and wonder how you put up with mundane metal box stuff you have always listened to.
I own the Manley Stringray. It looks great, it sounds great, (if your listening room is a stadium you are going to want more power). In addition Eva Manley has a no nonsense attitude towards quality and customer service. My Amp poped a fuse. I called they told me to check the fuses. Told me if it didn't work call back, they will give their Fed Ex number, and turn the amp quickly or replace it with a brand new unit.
Aldosenet - a good place to start is the "Tube Lust" page at "Enjoy the Music" http://www.enjoythemusic.com/tubelust/
I'm surprised to find so many votes for Stingray on a post on looks. I find Manley's Stingray to be the wackiest looking amp in their entire portfolio. However, I love the "Manley Neo-Classic SE / PP 300B" (these are not integrated as you require). When it comes to aesthetic, to each his own I guess...
the Tenor 75Wi integrated monoblocks are not only beautiful; they are the best sounding amps i have yet heard. as an OTL design they do have drive limitations but if your speakers have a resonably flat impedence curve the Tenors will work for 89db....my speakers are 90.5db and they have no problem at all. if your bookshelf speakers don't do the bottom octave or two (below 50hz) you won't have any problem. my speakers are flat to 25hz and there is no dynamic limitation AT ALL with the Tenor.
check them out at www.tenoraudio.com
do a search for mention of this amp and you will find many fanatical owners.
Tweekerman, the photo above by Bwhite IS the Jadis Orchestra.
You are thinking of the Orchestra Reference. The Reference features the KT90 tubes(in place of 6CA7/EL34), transformer covers, 24K gold over brass knobs and fascia(in place of gold colored plastic), and bass/treble controls.
The Orchestra Reference basically occupies the position between the Orchestra and the DA30. The DA30 is similar to the DA60 pictured in the same post by Bwhite, but with 4 KT90 tubes, vs the DA60's 8.
Differences between the DA30 and Orchestra Reference are the DA30 features an active preamplifier section(in place of passive) w/tape monitor, tube standby, autobias, no tone controls, no transformer covers, and the gold toned fascia/knobs(in place of 24K gold over brass).
I find both the DA30 and Orchestra Reference to be superlative audio products, some of THE best I have ever come across. To me, the Orchestra Reference was the one to buy. Reasons being value, cosmetics, and tone controls. I cannot say which is really better sonically. They are a bit different. Which made the $2000 price difference factor big time into the equation.
i can't find the potential of the jadis reference at the moment because of lack of quality digital , speakers,and cables..very unbalanced system...but i've got plans in the making...the tone controls are useless...yes for under 2500 its a good deal...but i've heard the audio mat (french) at the same price is a very nice unit as well(he said its even "better"???)
Yes, you really need to mate the Orchestra Reference with good equipment. It takes a high level of ancillary components before you start to push the limits of the Jadis, as opposed to having it held back.
I like the tone controls. I am able to back off some on the poorly recorded digital(80's especially). And, when people who are not audiophiles come over, pumping up the bass, combined with my Coincident Troubass subwoofers, makes sure I never hear any "You should try !" comments. Yes, the bass is stupendous, even when I have the controls set flat(95+% of the time). It's those fabulous, huge Jadis transformers, caps, and KT90s.
I also like the fact that I can use EL34/6CA7/E34L/KT88/6550/KT90 output tubes. You cannot do that with an Orchestra. That amp can only run EL34/6CA7/E34L.
The Orchestra is $2495
The Orchestra Reference is $3495
The DA30 is $5018
I wish I knew how to post a picture in this thread(any help?). Then, I could throw an Orchestra Reference picture up.
By, the way, the Orchestra Reference mates extremely well with silver cabling. So, you might want to consider that.
Not sure if you can do much better in an integrated amp than the Jadis I own, but if Audio Materiere is as good or better, it is quite special.
"beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is the first thing that comes to my mind.
Everyone like eye candy,but having owned several tube amps,they basically all have the form follows function type of look.
They are all simple metal case works with tubes and transformers sticking out of them.Some case work has been wood, like my DecWare.
But, are you willing to trade off good sound for a work of industrial art?
You are most likely getting less sound for the dollar and paying for cosmetics.
I would gladly pay more for superior sound .
If I want something nice to look at, I'll buy a painting or sculpture.
Besides, I listen mostly with the lights out.
The beauty of glowing bottles filling the air with music in a darkened room is all the beauty I need.